Politics & Government

Kobach faces second complaint in using border wall nonprofit email list for donations

A campaign-finance watchdog has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission alleging a nonprofit broke the law by allowing Kansas Republican Kris Kobach to use its email list to raise money for his Senate campaign.

The complaint was filed Tuesday by Washington, D.C.,-based Campaign Legal Center. It is the second FEC complaint stemming from a fundraising email sent earlier this month soliciting donations for Kobach’s campaign from supporters of We Build the Wall, a 501(c)4 nonprofit that uses private donations to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Kobach serves on We Build the Wall’s advisory board and as its general counsel.

The email went out to a list maintained by We Build the Wall, and provided links to the campaign’s official fundraising page and asked for “a financial contribution of $50, $100, $250, $500, or any amount up to the maximum of $2,800 per individual.”

There was no “paid for by” disclaimer affixed to the email, which would have indicated Kobach’s campaign paid fair market value for access to the We Build the Wall contact list.

Shortly after the email was made public by The Daily Beast, Washington-based watchdog group Common Cause filed a complaint with the FEC and formally asked for an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The new complaint notes that federal law prohibits corporations, including nonprofits, from making a contribution in connection with a federal election. That includes “facilitating the making of contributions to candidates or political committees,” the complaint says.

Kobach’s campaign released a statement saying that if a mistake was made it was a third-party vendor’s “failure to include a ‘paid for by’ notice on any campaign email.”

The statement went on to call Campaign Legal Center’s complaint “a common political tactic designed to distract voters.”

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